The Question of Military Defense

Curious — tRump (along with many other Repugs) says we (meaning the U.S.) need to have a gigantic and scary military so nobody will mess with us.

Thoughts?

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65 thoughts on “The Question of Military Defense

  1. The approach to the matter of Nuclear proliferation is an interesting matter to contemplate. North Korea and Iran must wonder why they are sanctioned over suspected Nuclear weapons development when India, Pakistan and Israel are just given a slap on the wrist.

    I should emphasise I don’t think it would be a very bad outcome if more countries had nuclear weapons. So I am just pointing out that if we were to try to look at the matter from the perspective of these rogue nations, they must consider the countries sanctioning them to be hypocrites.

    Now think back to the invasion of Iraq. Would that have occurred if Iraq had nuclear weapons? If one thinks the answer is no, then it starts to show why rogue nations might contemplate developing such weapons, purely for defensive purposes leaving aside possible more sinister motives).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well put Peter!

      I have also felt that our hypocrisy in giving ourselves and our ally Israel a pass (along with the aforementioned India and Pakistan) on nuclear weapons undermines our position.

      Nuclear proliferation is a good example of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Cooperation is the only way to ensure mutually beneficial results.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The stance of having a large military has been around since Reagan at least. Unfortunately, it only works to deter countries like Russia from overt war. It does not deter them from selling arms to groups that are willing to buy them.

    As far as leaving the middle east completely alone, we did try that in the 90’s. The Taliban is one example of the unpredictable regimes that took hold. So, realistically speaking, ignoring them isn’t an option, either.

    How large a military should we have? Probably we should have one that lets us fulfill our obligations to our allies. At least then we can have enough of a presence to show that we can support our ends of any bargains we make. It will also make us start to think about all the treaty obligations we have.

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    • SB, did we really leave the mid-east alone? I’m no history buff but it seems to me we’ve always had our hands in their affairs.

      Thing is … the people over there have been fighting amongst themselves “forever.” What makes the U.S. think that taking care of ISIS is going to change anything?

      Liked by 1 person

      • “What makes the U.S. think that taking care of ISIS is going to change anything?”

        It won’t. When Bushy boy attached Iraq, that set into motion an Islamic prophesy—apocalypse now.

        http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/6-keys-understanding-isis-barbarism-apocalyptic-vision-and-desire-end-times-battle

        What is so disconcerting is that these war-mongers running for president are actually on the side of ISIS — for they are proposing to do exactly what ISIS wants, and all for filthy lucre’s sake.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Regrettably, I have to agree with the author of the article.

          I guess like many, I want to bury my head in the sand and hope that our leaders truly know what they’re doing. But after reading this, it seems pretty obvious they don’t. On either side.

          The comment that stood out to me was: “Just as there are many flavors of American evangelical extremism, ISIS is on the furthest end of the conservative orthodoxy … “

          That’s REALLY scary. We’re already familiar with our own brand of extremism here in the states and we’ve seen how that can play out. Now we have to deal with it from the mid-east as well.

          The whole scenario is terrifying. No wonder people don’t listen to the news.

          Liked by 2 people

        • No wonder people don鈥檛 listen to the news.

          So I take it Ike’s not running for President again next year, is he?

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        • This too: “In America, some evangelical Christians are among Israel鈥檚 biggest defenders because they believe it will hasten the end times foretold in the biblical Book of Revelation. ISIS believes in an Islamic version of a similar end-times prophecy, of which it is a central actor.”

          Gawd! Religion sucks!

          Liked by 4 people

        • Colorstorm had entire posts defending Israel and specifically Benjamin Netanyahu – you can imagine CS’s surprise when I informed him that Netanyahu was born in Tel Aviv to secular Jewish parents and was himself a secularist. I’ve not heard anything more about him.

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        • He lived in the States for much of his life, and attended M. I. T. He returned to Israel only after his brother was killed during Operation Entebbe. Whatever he may be like as a person, he has had an illustrious military career.

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        • Netanyahu joined the Israel Defense Forces shortly after the Six-Day War in 1967 and became a team leader in the Sayeret Matkal special forces unit. He took part in many missions, including Operation Inferno (1968), Operation Gift (1968) and Operation Isotope (1972), during which he was shot in the shoulder. He fought on the front lines in the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, taking part in special forces raids along the Suez Canal, and then leading a commando assault deep into Syrian territory. He achieved the rank of captain before being discharged. After graduating from MIT with SB and SM degrees, he was recruited as an economic consultant for the Boston Consulting Group.
          — Wikipedia —

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      • Well, we did leave Afghanistan alone. All we did in response to their threats against us was lob a couple of Tomahawk missiles their way. Should we have done more? Probably. Does that involve shooting up towns and cities and forcibly installing governments? Probably not.

        The problem is that we’ve already meddled. Syria is a great example of how brutal things can get when foreign powers actively support regimes. Accepting refugees technically also counts as meddling. At the least, what we choose to do is going to have an impact on real people.

        Finally, as far as history goes, we’ve only had our hands directly in their affairs since the Ottoman Empire fell. Before that, the lands were not valuable enough and the Ottomans strong enough to warrant leaving it alone. Europe has been involved there a little longer, since the late 1700’s if memory serves. Before that, prior involvement was the Crusades, but that paled in comparison to what the Ottomans were doing in Greece and Italy.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Probably we should have one that lets us fulfill our obligations to our allies.

      Yeah, well, that’s a problem for me. I agree we should defend our allies, but not necessarily ALL of the time. Viet Nam was fought primarily because we went in to assist the French, as they are part of NATO. Then the French pulled out, leaving us to hold the bag. Later, De Gaul went on to criticize us for our handling of war. On the other hand, the French were only in Viet Nam in the first place because they had colonized the country, which frankly, I don’t consider a legitimate claim on the country – I believe we should have ignored their request for assistance – you got yourself in, you get yourself – we need to consider the legitimacy of an Ally’s cause before we consider defending them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I’m not just talking about defending our allies or their possessions. The Korean War is a great example of what happens when we just say we’re not interested in a place. If there’s any question as to whether the Russians still play the same game, one can look at the exploitation of Kerry’s gaffe to save their friend in Syria.

        That one flippant remark had a lot of lives attached to it.

        I’m not saying that we shouldn’t question our obligations. I’m suggesting quite the opposite; should we be going around the world making the promises we make? In some cases, no. In other cases, we need to make sure that a promise we make doesn’t extend to helping someone keep an unwanted regime in place.

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        • …should we be going around the world making the promises we make? – Certainly not without a serious weighing of the consequences and a firm understanding that our support is not unconditional.

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  3. Well, one way to answer the question is to consider what we get when the US stays clear of ‘European entanglements’? Is that preferable?

    WWI and II comes to mind.

    Where are the citizens of mainland Europe today paying homage to the economy and policies that rebuilt these failed states from the consequences of their folly while keeping the Soviet totalitarian state at bay? You can’t do that with an isolationist state or one that cannot extend military power in foreign lands: you fall before the invader and as conquered people and have no say in your fate. Many Europeans seem to conveniently forget this fact in their rush to vilify the US and its oftentimes inept foreign policies.

    The US is always caught between a rock and a hard place: if they do nothing, they are held responsible for ‘allowing’ war to erupt and so are held in contempt for not doing enough. Paying for 90% of the UN is seen as ‘failing to pay’ for it. If they intervene in other countries, they are held accountable for failing to ‘fix’ the root problems but, if they get involved in local governance issues, they are colonialists expanding the US Empire. Hundreds of billions in foreign aid is considered merely an extension of American Imperialist dreams. If they don’t back the reasonable parties of civil wars, they are held in contempt for not stopping extremists, and so on.

    The US is simply a very handy target for everyone as long as it has the military capability to be a vital ally used to be the umbrella under which social welfare states can afford social welfare policies. If the US were to fold up camp and withdraw, many countries would become Ukraines and Tibets and blame the US for their weak condition.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Costa Rica has no army at all and nobody messes with it.

    And why do they call it the Defense Department when we are never defending ourselves. (The last time anyone attacked us in a nontrivial way was 12-7-1941.) We sure do make a lot of wars, though. Shouldn’t it be called the War Department?

    This is part and parcel to us having guns for self-defense. The actual number of times guns are really used for self defense is minuscule. The responsible gun nuts claim that at home, their guns are kept in gun safes for safety reasons. So, when someone breaks in, you run to the gun safe and rush through the combination lock, now what was that combination again? Damn, I have to load a magazine with bullets before I can jamb that sucker home and light up that intruder, eh, you say they left already? with the TV? Damn.

    Liked by 2 people

    • (The last time anyone attacked us in a nontrivial way was 12-7-1941.)” – That date always stands out for me, it was the day after my grandfather sank his life savings into a Japanese restaurant in Honolulu.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Our military operates hypocritically in every aspect. I understand that there are pragmatic arguments on Hobbesian grounds, or even Machavellian if you are a a hardcore utilitarian, but I am never comfortable with “the ends justify the means” when it comes to killing and torturing.

    Warfare is definitely an example of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. That is why cooperation is the best way to maximize value for all sides. As much as irrationality plays a role in international conflicts, I think we can appeal to nations and groups through peaceful means and diplomacy. I don’t thin we have ever really tried to do that, seeing as our corporately controlled leaders are set on rigging the economic systems and trade agreements in favor of our domestic elites at the expense of the global poor.

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    • I am never comfortable with ‘the ends justify the means’ when it comes to killing and torturing.

      Neither am I, but there are those who would take advantage of those who think as we do – those to whom ‘the ends justify the means’ sounds perfectly reasonable.

      our corporately controlled leaders are set on rigging the economic systems and trade agreements in favor of our domestic elites at the expense of the global poor.

      Thereby creating a constant supply of wage slaves to do the piece work sent overseas, at slave labor prices, allowing the above leaders to sell the finished products to other members of their elite. For them, the scripture, “The poor you shall have with you always,” was seen as a marketing strategy. It’s a perfect system if you happen to live near the top of the pyramid. When we were kids, we called it ‘King of the Mountain.’

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ditto to all of that.

        As far as the ends justify the means, I should’ve clarified that I do think some killing is justified. But I feel as though we don’t have the right motives or strategies when we try to intervene militarily, so essentially the ends aren’t even good.

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        • This is the chorus to a song which was banned (WW1) for being unpatriotic –

          I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier
          I brought him up to be my pride and joy
          Who dares to put a musket on his shoulder
          To kill another mother’s darling boy

          Liked by 4 people

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